September 1st, 1995.
"BLAISE! THEO! TORI! Come in quick! The train is leaving!"
The platform 9 and 3 quarters was overflowing with throngs of people, and in this case, wizards and witches. It was September, the first. Despite the variety of rumors and fears that surrounded Magical Britain all around, the ambience of the platform was just indomitable. No matter whether it was the newspapers discussing (slandering) Albus Dumbledore (also known as barmy obsolete-dingbat) or rumors and conspiracy theories about the possible reincarnations of the Dark Lord Voldemort; the very same who had tormented the land of Magical Britain over fourteen years ago, until the incident of Halloween 1981. All of that, and even more, what with the way the present Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge and his senior undersecretary Dolores Umbridge were commenting (slandering) about the previous Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, Albus Dumbledore. So much of political activity and rumors all around, and yet if one were to notice, they would only observe one thing—the shouts of laughter and craziness that seem to pervade through the entire platform. In the midst of all that, the red and scarlet engine of the Hogwarts Express gave out a loud whistle.
Smoke from the engine drifted over the heads of the chattering crowd, while cats of every color wound here and there between their legs. Owls hooted to one another in a disgruntled sort of way over the babble and the scraping of heavy trunks. Amidst all of that was Tracy Davis, a young brunette, with a golden-red tinge to her curls. She had a heart-shaped face, with sparkling hazel eyes, and a laughter that was as melodious as any other was. Right now, she stood in front of the Hogwarts Express, yelling out for all it was worth, calling her friends to join her; for the train was about to leave soon.
"BLAISE! TORI! COME IMMEDIATELY OR I'M BOARDING WITHOUT YOU!"
"COMING MOTHER!" A unison of two voices shouted out. One belonged to Blaise Zabini, a tall dark and lean built boy of fifteen, nearly approaching sixteen. He belonged to the exotic Zabini family that held a notorious history in Italy, and were rumored to have come to Britain after the defeat of Grindelwald, to get a feel for Magical Britain, with possible ideas for expansion and setting up some illegal businesses. However, all of that was just hearsay with no solid evidence.
The other voice was a rather cute and cheerful one, and belonged to the youngest daughter of the Greengrass family, the Ancient and Noble House of Greengrass to be exact. The Greengrass family, although neutral politically, had a wonderful reputation of being quite ... multipolar. Politically, the Lord sided with supporting traditions, but he kept a staunch refusal towards bigotry towards the muggleborn or magical creature communities. Publically, he stayed away from the Press, a very convenient thing that he had acquired by buying off twenty percent shares of the Daily Prophet, the leading newspaper in the Wizarding World of Britain. Economically, the family owed its wealth to the many, many deals it had with variety of magical and mundane companies, and thus, Lord Greengrass was a man with his feet in both worlds. In similar fashion, he had tried to instill similar values in his children.
Back to Tracy Davis, the brunette was presently surrounded by her friends Blaise and Astoria Greengrass, also known as Tori by her dear ones, and were busy managing their trunks and bags. Tracy's boyfriend Theodore, also known as Theo by his friends, was already inside the train, booking one entire compartment for himself and his friends. He would come in after every five minutes, and ask the others to get in, so that he could get back to some private reading. Tracy, just like the countless other times as she had done, would maturely stick her tongue out to him and Theo would just roll his eyes, and reenter back into the compartment.
"Why won't you just come in Trace? How long do you people still need?" Theo asked- his forehead furrowed in impatience.
"Just a minute Teddy." Tracy countered, not even dignifying her boyfriend's question by turning back at him. Theo looked heavenward for some divine intervention. "Fine!" he gritted his teeth and went back to the compartment.
Tracy just rolled her eyes at the lack of patience of her boyfriend. She was almost done with everything, save one.
"COMING TRACE!" the melodious sound reverberated amidst the sounds of the crazy throngs of the wizard crowd on the platform. The voice belonged to Daphne Greengrass, the elder daughter of the Greengrass family. A little about five-ten in height, the young girl had luxuriant raven-black long sleek hair, with ice-blue eyes. The slightly chiseled beautiful face with a petite slightly upturned nose and soft-looking full pink lips. Dressed in a dragon hide jacket with black tights covering her long legs, she quickly bade farewell to her father and ran towards her best friend, knowing very well that Tracy would not call on her unless the train was just about to leave. Joining her best friend, they boarded the train and went off to find their compartment.
The train let out another whistle, and slowly began to move. Families could be seen waving off goodbyes to their children that had boarded the train for the first time. For the older ones like Daphne and her friends, it was time to sit and relax into their compartment and enjoy the next eight hours of journey. Eight hours and then, they would all have to adorn masks for the next one year, with random breaks in between; said breaks being the Christmas holidays, and of course, the Hogsmeade visits.
Finding their compartment and of course, Theo who had his reading-glasses stuck on his nose and immersed in a book on defensive magic; Daphne and the rest entered into the compartment and eased themselves. Daphne of course, took the window opposite Theo while Tracy sat beside her boyfriend who was busy seated by the other window. Blaise sat beside Daphne while Tori was busy getting ready. Once she was sure that her bag was stored up properly in the rack along with her sister, she ran off to find her own friends. Tori was two years younger, and unlike her elder sister, she was in the third year.
Back to their compartment, Tracy was eager to begin a conversation, her rather subtle attempt at trying to deviate Theo from his books, began excitedly. "So Daph, ready for your OWL year? I am still getting creeps out of it. OWL exams are supposed to be tough after all."
"Oh sod off Daph!" Blaise commented from beside her. "Everyone knows that you will probably get the highest scores in Slytherin House. If not for Granger, you would perhaps get the highest in the entire school. But that is a given, I am still not sure how Granger does that thing." Keeping all those taunting arseholes at bay, ignoring the comments all around her, holding on to her pro-muggle comments and still managing to outscore everyone. Only Granger could do that. It was simply on the list of unbelievable achievements on Blaise's list that he thought could be possible. There was another thing though, and Daphne knew it. Blaise harbored a tiny crush for the muggleborn girl although he was quiet about it. Why he did so, Daphne had ideas, but she kept them to herself.
"And what about your secret boyfriend, Daph?" Tracy asked with a contagious grin. Daphne's eyes widened as she was suddenly caught surprised at the sudden mention of it. Eyes glaring at her best friend, wishing her to evaporate on spot.
"TRACIIIIEEE!" Her accusation went rather high-pitched and even Theo could feel that a mixture of embarrassment and humiliation was present in Daphne's otherworldly loud rebuttal. It was quite different from the normally silent and cold-and-calculating front she presented at Hogwarts. Her mask, just like her friends used to adorn their own.
"What?" Tracy countered back with a characteristic drawl.
"Do you remember anything about our talk to never-speak-anything-about-it-until-I-tell-you?" Daphne accused, her lips thinned. A dragon-breeder would have easily compared her expression with that of an angry dragon, what with the way she was talking to her, eyes narrowed, lips thinned to the point of vanishing and her stare, her dangerous icy stare, all focused on Tracy. Needless to say, the fact that Tracy had not evaporated away was quite a magical feat in itself.
"But he is coming to Hogwarts this year anyway!" Tracy defended herself. "Theo" she snatched the book from his hand, much to his indignation, "back me up!"
"Back you up in what?" Theo countered in indignation.
"Oh, you are useless!" Tracy waved him off. Returning to Daphne, she continued. "And since he is coming, I don't understand what the bloody big deal is!"
"The big deal is that he wanted it to be a silent matter, especially considering the political atmosphere all around." Daphne hissed.
"Hey! Hey! Someone tell me also. Who is this secret lover of our ice-queen over here?" Blaise intervened. Daphne blushed slightly at the 'lover' comment and Tracy gave out a whooping laugh at Daphne's expression.
"Okay, now I'm seriously interested. Daphne is blushing, that is one of the things on my list of impossibilities." Daphne rolled her eyes and gave out a long-suffering sigh.
"His name is Ares James Black."
"Correct me if I am wrong, but perchance, does Black refer to Sirius Black, the last of the Blacks who had deserted Britain after the last war?"
"Ares Black is the adopted son and heir of Sirius Black. Apart from that, he also has another name, one with which you are very intimately familiar with. His birth parents had named him something else. You might know him as Harry Potter. The Lord Potter-Slytherin."
"WHAAAT?" A unison of the three voices boomed in the compartment, enough for Daphne to constrict her eyes tightly at the sudden yelling. Opening them back, she smirked at the stupefied faces of her friends.
"Lord Potter-Slytherin? But you never mentioned that to me!" Tracy complained.
Daphne smirked at her best friend. "And create the chance for you to babble that out? No way!"
"But how come we have never heard of him before? All we know is that after Harry Potter, the boy-who-lived, had miraculously off'ed the dark lord in 1981, he was taken away and no one knew where; just that Sirius Black was supposedly theorized to be behind it, although it was never proved as Sirius Black had never returned back to his homeland."
"Sirius Black had taken Harry away with him to Bulgaria, and has had him educated at personal cost and choice. He has had his magical education done privately so far. "
"So why is he coming back to Hogwarts NOW?" Theo asked, apparently the present discussion was possibly more interesting than his books for a change.
"Because the Ministry of Magic has it mandatory that all Lords of Ancient and Noble Houses must have passed the OWLS and NEWTS from here in Britain in order to take their seats in the Wizengamot. And also, because I-" Daphne blushed-"might have convinced him into coming."
"Convinced, eh? I am wondering what the convincing might have entailed."
"Oh hush you!" Daphne admonished.
"So where is he?" Blaise asked.
"I don't know. He informed me that he would be seeing me at Hogwarts, but not before. Something about sorting out some priorities or something." She shrugged.
Five compartments away, in a lone compartment, a tall lean young man slept aloof. His legs spread over the other seat, relaxing into the hard wall of the compartment, a book lying opened on his chest, he was busy taking his nap, his luxuriant jet-black hair, almost covering his eyes. Around six feet in height, the young man wore dragon-hide boots and an acromantula dueler's robe. The dark green dragon hide jacket that he wore well suited with his white shirt. He slept, completely oblivious to the happenings outside the realms of Morpheus in which he was presently busy.
There was a knock on the door.
He slept on.
Another loud knock.
He did not stir.
The door banged open. Three boys, well one boy and two extra-large, extra-round-looking boys walked into the compartment. The boy in the middle, presumably the leader among the three, was a rather lean-looking blonde, and would be around Daphne's height approximately. The pale blonde looked down at the sleeper and smirked, his wand easily slipping into his hand. Waving his wand in a rather swirly fashion, he whispered. "Aguamenti!"
Aguamenti. The water-summoning spell. Normally not a very powerful spell, but like all conjuring spells, it was taught only in fifth year and above to Hogwarts students. Hence, it was obvious, that the pale blonde, notoriously known as Draco Malfoy, had the grand idea that the spell would be a surprise for the new boy, whomever this impertinent sleeper might be. Water conjured from the wand tip would blast out towards wherever the wand was directed.
Therefore, it was obviously quite a shock when the water went halfway from his wand, seemed to stop midway and then returned back, drenching Draco himself completely. His two oaf-like bodyguards, did not know what to do, and thus, just as usual, stared blankly, waiting for precise directions from their leader.
"What the HELL? WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE!" Draco yelled, addressing the sleeper.
Emerald eyes sprang open, as the sleeper slowly looked up at the faces of the intruders to his compartment, and was quite confused (and a bit amused too) as to why the blonde in front of him was drenched. Then, he remembered how his intrusion and repellent ward was suddenly triggered.
"I suppose you-" the young man tried to begin, but was cut off by the angry ramblings of the drenched and obviously incensed blonde. His face suddenly filled up with a grin, decided that the angry blonde had encroached upon the compartment and had tried to bully him by trying to drench him with water; at least that was what it seemed.
"Apologies, I did not hear you entering, and I did not catch your name. Who might you be?" He asked genially.
The pale blonde looked at him as if he was a strange insect. "You are riding this train and you don't know me! Obviously, you are a mudblood, but you seem too old for a firstie."
The young man brushed aside the 'mudblood' comment. Magical Britain was indeed, overflowing with bigoted purists and it was obvious, that he would find it for himself, that more than enough people would be swayed by the powers the bigots held here in Britain.
"I am not a firstie as you said, but yes, I am not from here. A transfer-student, actually."
Malfoy raised an eyebrow. "So you are a mudblood. Stand up and let me lie down and relax for a while."
Harry raised his eyebrow. This blonde, whoever he was, was quite an arrogant one. Giving his trademarked cocky grin, he inclined his head on his left shoulder and eyed the blonde. "I'm not sure I got your name."
"I am Draco Malfoy. The heir of the Noble House of Malfoy, and the soon-to-be Lord Black. Now get off, you filthy mudblood."
Harry's forehead furrowed. What was this imbecile talking? He had lived with Sirius all his life and Sirius never mentioned having a bastard child. So-
"Are you deaf? I told you to stand away!" Draco ordered.
Harry sighed and stood up. Facing the blonde and looking at him in the eye, he replied. "Listen up, you overgrown monkey, go back into your compartment and rest. Please remember for your own benefit- never proclaim anything unless you are sure of it. Now please..." he started to sit down on the couch. "Get out."
"Wha-" Draco started to refute, but suddenly an invisible but humongous force hurled him bodily outside the compartment as the door shut with a resounding thud. Draco and his henchmen fell down on the floor while the door closed in front of his face. He stood up quickly and began pounding the door, casting all the unlocking as well as blasting curses that he knew on the door.
The door just did not open.
#### This chapter has been beta'd by Lady Edgecombe. If you like the chapter, please follow, favorite and review.